For my challenge last month, "Let's do something blue," I think I did pretty well. Mostly, I'm proud of the Irhoborin Refugee Settlement, in Duvar, Commonia. I also did some work on administrative divisions in various blue countries, and I laid down a first draft for the Kshang Native Lands Area in Rhododactylia - but that last still needs a LOT of work.
How did you do? I saw some people doing some great stuff in blue areas this past month.
Actually, the main thing I worked on this past month has been my little city-state of Tárrases. I will post about that separately, at some point.
Thinking about names
I wasn't sure what to make as a challenge this month. So I decided to just think about what I would be working on.
For me, names on a map are important. Nothing is more disappointing for me than to see an area that looks well-mapped, realistic, and interesting, only to zoom in and find that most of the streets and other objects have no names attached to them. It detracts from the realism of the map, and makes the whole thing feel more like a kind abstract art that happens to be map-like. I know names are not interesting to everyone - if names are not your thing, then this challenge is not for you.
I try very hard to name things on my maps as I build them, but I'm certainly not perfect in this respect. Sometimes my names can become repetitive or unimaginative - but sometimes names in the real-world are repetitive and unimaginative, too. How many places bear the name "Washington" in the US? 100s if not 1000s. How many places bear the name "Santa María" in Latin America? How many places bear the name "Gwangju" in Korea?
Anyway, the challenge this month is to try to increase the number of names on your map, and improve the quality, consistency and "story" behind your naming schemes, whether based on real-world languages or your own invented language.
"Name Density" - toward an objective measure of map quality
I have been trying to develop a concept of "name density" - the number of named objects per square kilometer. Here is an example.
I downloaded a typical, well-mapped area of OSM, in the northeast corner of the Basque Country in Spain. It's a small area, but it's a rectangle that's roughly 16.31 sq km, including about 10% water, with both urban and rural features.
I used osmfilter's statistics function, and very interestingly I got 1631 names. That means exactly 100 names/sq km.
That was such a suspcious first result that I grabbed an .osm file I have of Mexico City, Delegación Cuauhtemoc, the neighborhood where I used to live. It's a bit bigger, being 44.56 sq km, all urban. It has few open areas at all compared to the first area I did, but the quality of the mapping is also much less thorough.
I used the statistics function on this file and got 2793 names per sq km, or a name density of about 63 names/sq km.
After that, I got carried away, and I spent several hours doing a bunch of different areas. I also looked at some OGF locations. Here is a screenshot of the spreadsheet I made.
Obviously, the quality of mapping might also influence the name density of these areas. My current home in Ilsan, Korea, is a good example of this. There are probably a million residents in the enclosed area that I downloaded, yet the OSM mapping quality is notably sparse.
More importantly, however, is to remember that an urban area will obviously have a higher name density than a rural area. It might be more interesting to come up with a ratio of population density to name density. This would actually be a kind of indicator of map completeness and map quality. But it's beyond my current ability to do this, because it means getting downloaded OSM areas that match known population figures with some precision. I think it's an interesting goal.
For now, let's keep things simpler than that.
Luciano's Mapper's Challenge #5 - August, 2016 - WHAT'S IN A NAME?
As you can see, the last area I did in my spreadsheet was my current obsession, the city state of Tárrases. The result that I got, at 29 names/km sq, is about in line with what I would expect for this stage in my work there. I was not disappointed at all. But it gave me an idea for a goal for my challenge for this month.
The total land area of Tárrases is 203 km sq. My goal for this challenge is to raise the city-state's name density to 100 names/sq km. That means there need to be about 20,000 named objects on the map. I'm going to have to put in a lot of little shops and restaurants!
If you want to attempt this challenge, choose some area (whatever size you're comfortable working with), and try for a "real world" level of name density - whatever is appropriate for the type of mapping style and type of area (rural or urban) you're working on.
Happy mapping, and happy August